16 November 2022 | Student assistant Lara Brett listened to activists speak about their work to ensure safe and legal access to abortion in Europe
On 19 October 2022, the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum hosted the event ‘The Right to Abortion in Germany, Poland and Russia.’ The event was moderated by Christina Riek, the organisation’s Project Coordinator, with speakers Lena Henke – Policy expert for sexual and reproductive rights for Terre des Femmes, Marta Lempart, Founder of the All-Poland Women’s Strike and Yulia Karpukhina – Coordinator for social and artistic projects, Eve’s Rib.
The event aimed to raise awareness of the legal provisions for abortion in Germany, Poland and Russia, by highlighting the differences between the states and emphasising the work done by civil society activists to improve access to services. Overall, the speakers revealed that, whilst some legal reforms have been implemented in Germany, pregnancy terminations in Poland are banned almost entirely, with the procedure also coming under increasing threat in Russia in recent years. Our 2020 study, in collaboration with the Institut für Auslanderbeziehungen, similarly concluded that civil society in Europe faces numerous challenges from state actors, limiting its scope for action and known as the ‘shrinking space’ phenomenon.
The EU-Russia Civil Society Forum is a network of independent and democratic civil society actors from the EU, Russia and Russians living in exile. It aims to support the cooperation of civil society actors and to support those based in Russia that are independent and critical of Putin. It condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Forum also organises the HERStory walking tour, to enable participants to learn about the women who have shaped Berlin. Further information is available on the organisation’s Facebook page.